Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Flash of Genius

The new movie, Flash of Genius, from its previews, looks awful--glorifying intermittent windshield wiper inventor Robert Kearns's use of the patent system to shake down the auto industry for $30M.

After all, it was already well known that existing windshield wipers were problematic--for example, "the blades often scraped across a windshield that was nearly dry. The resultant friction made an annoying sound and tore up the blades' edges." The solution was also obvious: "A solution that occurred to a number of inventors was an intermittent system one that would wipe, pause for a few seconds, then wipe again."

In 1963, Kearns came up with one way to do this, patented it, and eventually sued Ford and Chrysler for using a similar design. "Ford's legal team argued that Kearns's patents were overly broad and therefore invalid. As Ted Daykin, a former Ford engineer, told The New Yorker in a 1993 article, 'An electronic timing device was an obvious thing to try next. How can you patent something that is in the natural evolution of technology?' The intermittent wiper, according to Daykin, was really the work of dozens of anonymous engineers at Ford, Trico, and other firms." Kearns won anyway--"$10.2 million from Ford in 1990 and $18.7 million from Chrysler in 1995, though both juries determined that the companies had not intentionally infringed on his patents."

This movie is sure to annoy. It's no wonder Hollywood likes it: it's pro-IP and anti-capitalism. But Randians have a dilemma--it pits one hero (innovator, patent holder) against another (industry)!

Update: GREAT comment on this at TechDirt.


Submit Comment

Blog Post


Email (optional):

Your Humanity:

Prove you are human by retyping the anti-spam code.
For example if the code is unodosthreefour,
type 1234 in the textbox below.

Anti-spam Code



Most Recent Comments

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy You might find this very interesting but http://www.perfectessaysonline.com does custom essays,

Your Compulsory Assignment for Tonight There are some uncomplicated guides which describe the assignment accomplishing process step by

Killing people with patents AIDS is a dangerous decease. I have watched the trailer and it is heart touching. I wish no one to

Terence Kealey: This post is very helpful for my writing because I am doing the research paper work so I search

Dr. Who?

The Other Dr. No: HIV Researcher Fighting the IP Pirates Hi, First off, I came across your site and wanted to say thanks for providing a great HIV/AIDS

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Buy college papers at http://buy-essays-now.com and make sure that they are the best

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Replying to Stephan: As I noted elsewhere, I'm fine with abolishing the system, just don't think

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... This is very useful post for the people. I want to write this types article but I do not know about

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. This post is providing very useful and informative information for the students. I like this post

Update and critique of the proposed GOOGLE settlement Hi!) Informative article about Google INC. I agree with you, that Google is a huge company, that

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Do you suffer from loads of academic assignments? http://marvelous-essay.net will help you to

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Thanks for the information! It's good to know that there are some places showing the consequences

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Good post. Thanks for this information. By the way, if students want to get rid of their